Sediment Structures Constrained by Converted Waves From Local Earthquakes Recorded by a Dense Seismic Array in the Tangshan Earthquake Region

Abstract

To investigate the sediment structures within the Tangshan earthquake region in North China, we developed an effective and inexpensive method for reliably detecting the thickness of Quaternary sediments by using converted waves from local, small earthquakes recorded by a dense seismic array. From January to March 2017, we deployed 145 three-component seismographs with inter-station distances ranging between 1 and 4 km throughout the Tangshan earthquake region. Tens of local events with magnitudes between ML 0.1 and ML 2.4 were adequately recorded by the Tangshan dense seismic array and were accurately relocated. A synthetic seismogram analysis clearly showed that the travel-time differences between direct S and Sp converted waves or between direct P and Ps converted waves were almost linearly correlated with the sediment thicknesses, providing tight constraints on the basement depth. With this method, we generated a sediment thickness map of the Tangshan earthquake region. Overall, the measurements from the local converted wave method are consistent with those of previous microtremor horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio studies. The sediment thicknesses indicate that the subsurface sedimentary structure throughout the Tangshan earthquake region has experienced significant transformations over time, partially controlled by the NE–SW-trending Tangshan Fault. The obtained sediment thickness map provides beneficial information for ensuring the safe construction of infrastructure in Tangshan city and can serve as an important model for simulating earthquake strong ground motions in the Tangshan earthquake region. Our study suggests that the proposed simple and efficient method of using converted waves could be applied to other populous plains or basins with high seismic activity and could be used to determine the general characteristics of the sediment structures in a given study area.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to the staff of the Tangshan Central Seismic Station of the Earthquake Administration of Hebei Province for their support with the seismic observations. We appreciate the editor and reviewers for their constructive comments. This work was supported by Grants 2018YFC1504202, NSFC41974064, NSFC41674065, NSFC41404052 and NSFC41874069 and the China-ASEAN Marine Geosciences Research and Disaster Reduction Initiative Project (121201002000150022). The study was also supported by the China Earthquake Science Experiment Project, China Earthquake Administration (2019CSES0102), and the State Key Laboratory of Geodesy and Earth’s Dynamics.

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Bao, F., Li, Z., Shi, Y. et al. Sediment Structures Constrained by Converted Waves From Local Earthquakes Recorded by a Dense Seismic Array in the Tangshan Earthquake Region. Pure Appl. Geophys. 178, 379–397 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00024-021-02667-5

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Keywords

  • Sediment thickness
  • dense seismic array
  • local converted wave
  • H/V spectral ratio method
  • Tangshan fault